Transformation 2012: Day 4

Today, I was back in the wallpaper mines. In the grand scheme of things, removing wallpaper is horrible. Two layers of wallpaper is terrible. Three layers of wallpaper is heinous. A wall-art paneled mural, glued directly to sheet rock, is even worse. What’s worse than heinous? Abominable?

As much as I’d like to see such things banned, it seems paneled murals are still available today (I resisted the urge to include a link, as I don’t want to encourage deviant behavior).

I spent most of today working in the dining area (here’s a view at the end of the day):

Although I groused (to myself) a bit, thinking that I might have better things to do, or there might be better/faster ways to remove the cursed mural, or that a day-laborer might be money well-spent, I ultimately decided that:

  • Removing wallpaper is cheaper than paying for therapy
  • The workout is better (and cheaper) than going to a gym
  • The opportunity for solitude and introspection was priceless


Intermittently, I worked on the bathroom. The wall to the right was relatively easy – one layer of paper that came off without much coaxing. The trim around the ceiling was another story. Hard to reach, gooey, gluey, gummy, gross and resistant to chemicals. The paint peels off more easily than the adhesive, though that might have been the chemicals. In the absence of ventilation, the fumes in this small room were toxic. Tomorrow, I plan to finish with the wallpaper removal (top of the wall in the dining area, remaining trim in guest bathroom, master bath) and I will post a review of the chemicals and tools used, and their relative effectiveness.

For today, my thoughts have been on the challenge of peeling back the layers when the mask is so tightly bonded to the core. In removing the wall-art, I’ve struggled with almost every approach I’ve tried, in an effort to avoid collateral damage.

Despite my efforts, there have been plenty of nicks and scratches left behind on the sheet rock. Fortunately, the painter will come in with his compounds and magic to smooth things over before texturing and painting. The finished product will give no indication of the scars.

That’s how we are, isn’t it? On the surface, all appears well. We smile and nod and move through life without giving away the secrets we hide.

I wonder if the original builder believed the mural would remain in style forever. For eternity. Until the end of time. Or did he think that, should such time arise when a future homeowner might decide to dispense with the art, they could demolish the house. Or the wall? Did he give any consideration for the difficulties that would come with removing the cosmetic layer?

When we create a cosmetic layer to show the world, do we give consideration for the day when that layer may no longer be adequate or appropriate? I know that I’m being transformed, I am peeling away mental layers and looking at my internal sheet rock, chipped and scarred, softened by the processes that are getting me here. Once I’ve been stripped bare, it will be time to rebuild. I trust that the renovation will be rewarding. I am looking forward to the final “reveal.”

About Fran Hart

Disciple of Christ, earning a living as the director of US-based operations for a Taiwanese company, managing an engineering organization while carving out time to write. Wife, Mother, Grandmother.
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3 Responses to Transformation 2012: Day 4

  1. Bernie Davies says:

    At the Hughes unit of TDCJ (prison) there is a chapel which is a large room that holds about 300 inmates. At some point in the past the inmates were allowed to paint murals on the walls and each wall displayed the glory and majesty of God. Yes, even inmates in prison can see and love God. when the newest warden came in they had the inmates paint over the murals with a plain white, but everyone that had seen the murals knew that the beauty was still there even if it was unseen. God sees the beauty inside each of us even if it has become painted over.

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